Friday, 26 December 2008
From my diary for 2003, an account of Christmas on board Pride of Bilbao:
Christmas at sea… since we were taking 1300 minicruisers to Spain for the occasion, the crew had their main celebration in advance, on Christmas Eve. We anchored up in the Solent, ate a huge lunch, and then partied on down in the main bar, with a discotheque, as you youngsters say, and FREE FANTA AND CRISPS. …. Hey, we were just wild childs… and tried not to be resentful of the other P+O boats alongside in Portsmouth, which had relaxed their “no alcohol” rule for the occasion… it rather reminded me of those uneasy social occasions of my youth, when the local Air Cadets and Girl Guides would meet up in the church hall, and eye each other mistrustfully.
…and Christmas Day in the Bay of Biscay. In honour of the occasion, I wore my festive flashing Christmas tree earrings, as I loped around fixing air conditioning and vacuum toilets.
“There’s something wrong with your ears,” said a passenger; “They’re flashing”
“It’s the radiation sensors,” I said. “They must’ve had another meltdown in the engine room.”
…and, in the evening, to the bar again, to see the special Christmas show that the entertainment team had come up with, and to see if Santa’s podium, constructed for the occasion by the repair shop, would collapse. At one point late in the evening, young Tim the singer bounded through the audience distributing rather unconvincing plastic imitation mistletoe; he rather gallantly proffered me a sprig; I looked around for a suitable snogee, and gave up on it. And so a day of mass self-indulgence, gluttony and drunkenness ended with a rendition of “Feed The World”, with audience participation and a complete lack of irony.